Note – this interview contains reference to mental health issues experienced by Phillip.
If you’re experiencing any issues with your mental health or well being then please considering seeking health or advice by calling Beyond Blue 1300 224 636 or Lifeline 12 11 14.
SW: So, firstly, making art can be very brave. In fact, for many people it’s easier not to do art. Why are you pursuing it?
PD: Blergh, honestly my need to vomit up art is a form of survival. Pretentious as hell ?♀️- I don’t write good, I draw.
Cognitively, it’s the only way I can properly process relationships/trauma/daily social situations around me that usually baffle me. As long as I can remember I’ve drawn down my experiences and then taken a step back and been, like: “oh damnnnn… I think I’m definitely stupidly sad” or “OHHHH that’s why that person had a weird facial expression! I insulted them!!” (Is this a thing other autistic folk go through or just me??)
Oh! Also! As my OCD, tic disorder, anxiety disorders and depression developed in my late teens-early twenties it became the only thing that could abruptly derail my intrusive train of thought (pun: intended).
So, without art I would be a) dead and b) always confused.
SW: The still-life studies were a new style of work for you. I know from following you on social media that you were nervous to put them out there, asking followers if they were interested in seeing them. I’m interested to know how you feel about these artworks now? Have you seen the digital time lapses by David Hockney? Are you interested in pursuing more work in this style? Or will it continue to be a fusing of therapy and art?
PD: I legitimately regret sharing the botanical pieces with the public… I started to want to make them “pretty” and accurate and to please people – buuuut the whole reason I was doing them was to battle my agoraphobia (and fear of direct sunlight). I’ve regressed dramatically in my exposure therapy and am back to being house-bound. It’s traumatic to see them now… it feels like I’ve failed HARD since then.
I just googled Hockney – seems like a great artist but def bored me to tears. He needs to loosen up.
I’m’a stick to my silly art therapy ?❤️?
SW: How do you find using your social media followers as a community to provide feedback? I’m guessing this is like your version of an art school critique – everyone gathers round as someone unveils a new piece. Ideas are tossed around, feedback, suggestions, networks. Is this true, or not? What is this experience like for you?
PD: It’s incrrrrredibly kind, forgiving and adorable on Instagram, people are grand. I “cut-my-teeth” on free online art scenes and social media. It’s a rad way for anxious folk to show their work and not have to endure the torture of face-to-face interaction or the gross closed off uppity fine art gallery culture that some artists weirdly drool over. Accessible art ‘til death, amirite?
SW: And finally, how are the zines going? How long have you been doing these? What was the first? Any ongoing series? What are you working on now?
PD: Like I said, it’s gotta be accessible to everyone, especially the poor or disabled. I’ll always post my art free online but I also adore the DIY low cost culture of zines. It’s exhilarating to hold your work in a printed format (after growing up online) and be able to give them out to anyone/everyone. I’ve self-published hundreds of zines and hope to never stop. It took me a couple years to “click” that I should be selling the zines so that I could cover the cost of printing them at Officeworks… I’m not v good at money.
I’m currently journaling my experience in the psych ward (where I literally am rn) which I’ll photocopy into a zine format. I’ve been brainstorming some mass collab art zines around the topics of body dysmorphia and ASD. It’ll be up to all to contribute and vent about their experience and trauma, no judgement. ❤️ Art Therapy 4eva❤️